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Blurring the Rum/Vodka Line


brinza
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The word "mixability" is always a red flag for me.  At a spirits tasting festival, a Brugal rep said they are trying to appeal to vodka drinkers with their new Extra Dry white rum.  Well, they succeeded in part, because it does not taste like rum at all.  What I don't think they get, though, is why vodka drinkers would buy something that's not vodka, unless they want something that's not vodka.  I understand trying to gain additional market share and all that, but if you're a rum producer, why not try to make a better rum and appeal to . . .  rum drinkers!  I did have a bottle of Appleton White and it was okay, but did not seem to have much of a Jamaican rum character.  As a simply white rum, however, it's better than some, but I would not go out of my way to get more.  I eventually used it in drinks that merely called for white rum.  W&N, on the other hand, I'd definitely buy again (next trip to The Party Source perhaps).

Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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 What I don't think they get, though, is why vodka drinkers would buy something that's not vodka, unless they want something that's not vodka.

 

Pardon the play on word but vodka was orginally promoted (and defined) as "nothing", not something - and was specifically defined as a spirit devoid of any flavor whatever.    But soon the marketers of vodka realized that "nothing" was not enough, and thus vodka became "something" other than "nothing", lol.    Thus these lover of "nothing" were led by the Sydney Franks of this world to then want "something" in the form of subtle and not so subtle "flavors" - chocolate, mint, tutti-frutti and nearly unending flavors courtesy of the evil taste engineers of Dupont.

 

Ergo, it's not a huge leap for - arghhh! - a rum-flavored vodka?   Of course it isn't.   Thus for Appleton or any other distiller of light rums to offer them up against tutti-frutti vodka by Dupont, is really quite a reasonable proposition.    After all, if the drinkers of the world can be so easily convinced through marketing to spend premium prices for the cheap, mass-produced, unaged, artificially flavored alcohol called vodka, why not a light spirit made with real congeners like an Appleton?

 

Think I'm kidding?   Here's 13 of the strangest vodkas I know of:   buttered popcorn, hemp seed, smoked salmon, bacon, double expresso, peanut butter and jelly, salted caramel, wasabi, pumpkin pie, chocolate covered pretzel, lavender lemonade, dill pickle and are you sitting down?   Fackin "scorpion" flavored.    And you think Appleton is a reach?    Spare me... 

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Bacardi would take offense at that. They've worked hard to remove all traces of rum flavor. 

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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And there's Don Q, which I don't even consider to be rum-flavored vodka, but "vodka-flavored" rum.  (I put vodka-flavored in quotes because of what that phrase implies).

 

Jimbo, I think you conflated my comments about Appleton with my comments about Brugal Extra Dry.  I don't think Appleton white is a reach--in fact, I feel it's a pretty good white rum. I just didn't find it to be very "Jamaican."  It could be that I don't know what white Jamaican rum is supposed to taste like. if W&N is the benchmark, I'll go with that.

Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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I don't think Appleton white is a reach--in fact, I feel it's a pretty good white rum. I just didn't find it to be very "Jamaican."  It could be that I don't know what white Jamaican rum is supposed to taste like. if W&N is the benchmark, I'll go with that.

 

It's fair to say that anything made under the banner of W&N/Appleton are clearly in the Jamaican style and contain both pot and column-stilled components.    A fair comparison between the Appleton White and W&N Overproof requires that both be tasted at close to the same proof.    Approximately two teaspoons of water (or a tad more) to the OP will come close to accomplishing that.   Then compare them.

 

My guess:  you may still prefer the W&N.

 

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A fair comparison between the Appleton White and W&N Overproof requires that both be tasted at close to the same proof.    Approximately two teaspoons of water (or a tad more) to the OP will come close to accomplishing that.   Then compare them.

The next time that I am able to acquire a bottle of each, I will try that.  I've had both, but I can't remember if I had them both on hand at the same time.  If I did, it didn't occur to me to do a side-by-side tasting.

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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